From the beginning of time, gold has been one of the most valued and sought after of the precious metals. Always, a gift of gold has been the symbol of lasting love and devotion.
The uniqueness of gold: Of all the world's precious metals, only gold combines the four basic characteristics that make it a universally and eternally treasured possession - lustrous beauty, rarity, durability and workability.
Durability: Gold virtually lasts forever. It does not rust, tarnish or corrode. An example of its incredible durability is evident in the gold coins found in galleons sunk centuries ago. Each coin is as bright and shiny as the day it was made.
Workability: Gold has the best working qualities of any metal, thereby making it the ideal precious metal for fine jewellery. It is so soft and malleable that one ounce can be stretched into a wire an incredible 80 kilometres long, or hammered into a sheet so thin that it covers well over nine square meters and becomes transparent.
It is this workability that enables it to be alloyed with other precious and base metals to produce special qualities or to achieve variations of colour.
How do you know it is real gold?: When purchasing an item of gold jewellery, always look for a carat mark which should be stamped on it. This is a quality mark and refers to the proportion of pure gold in the item. Pure gold, which is 24ct, the metric equivalent being 1000, is generally considered too soft for practical uses in jewellery and is alloyed with other precious and base metals to increase its durability.
Hallmarks: Some of the common markings found on jewellery are:
Gold - 9ct or 375, 14ct or 585, 18ct or 750, 22ct or 916
Some other precious metal markings on jewellery are:
Silver - sterling or 925, Palladium - Pal, PD or 900, Platinum - Plat, Pt or 950